Friday, May 25, 2012

A tribute...

Hello all,

Amazingly enough, I am posting again.  Pretty shocking to be posting so soon, but with training in full swing and my body reacting well to it, I have a bit more to talk about.

First off, I need to say goodbye to a friend.  A couple weeks ago I was notified that a friend from college, Ara Standiford, had passed away.  It is pretty funny how life works sometimes.  I remember exactly how and when Ara and I met.  For those of you that went to EC, yes it was at Pio and yes, alcohol was involved.  Needless to say, he made an impact as he usually does.  Hands down one of the funniest people I know, and certainly the biggest wise-ass.

Thinking of the friends I made in college, if you had asked me at the time who I would would still be in touch with or close friends with 10 years later, Ara would not have been on that list.  We always got along great, but we were never what I would call close friends, especially compared to some of the friends I met in college.  It is interesting how life works out, as Ara and I did stay in touch and talked fairly frequently as he was going through his chemo treatments.  Yet I am not in touch with three people I thought I'd be in touch with forever.  Life's interesting little twists.

In any case, he actually read my blog which by itself is pretty funny.  But far funnier than that was the day he IM'd me on facebook to tell me he had read my blog and that he thought I was tough as nails for fighting through the crohns and injuries and other crap that I do and how I'd push through and make it happen.  I know he was being very complimentary and serious, but knowing that he was going through chemo at the time, the suggestion that I was "tough as nails" was pretty damn funny.  I told him the drugs must be impacting his cognative ability.

Being only 36, its pretty sobering when a friend dies.  I'm certainly well aware of my own mortality, but I don't always think about the mortality of those around me.  Ara, I expect a stool and a beer to be waiting for me.  And I know I am not alone in that sentiment.  You are missed.

Onto training and racing which is the purpose of this blog.

Kansas 70.3 is about two weeks out now, so its just about time to start tapering.  Overall I am feeling far more confident than I thought I would.  I think a lot of the stress from my previous job is now gone and that has greatly helped my training.  I also think I've been a littls smarter about my diet and sleep, those have also helped.

Kansas will be my first race since JHawk early bird last May.  It has been a long time and I am a bit nervous.  Having only done a sprint in the last 1.75 years leaves me a touch concerned about getting back on the horse and making sure I get the details right.

My last full HIM was Racine in 2010 where I did a 4:53.xx.  Depending on conditions in Kansas I think I am fully capable of hitting a 4:3x.xx.  It is a tough course, hilly on the bike and on the run.  But overall I am prepared for that.  Obviously if it is burning hot or windy I'll have to adjust accordingly.

Sunday is my final race-pace simulation.  I'll be mildly rested for it and going out to do a 2hr ride at 260w and a 45 minute run at a 7:00 - 7:15 pace.

If you had asked me 6-8 weeks ago if I could hold that kind of run pace for a half marathon, I'd have told you no effing way.  But last week I clipped of 12 miles in training with intervals and hills and my average pace was 7:45.  That is by far my fastest "long" training run ever.  Since that was on fatigued legs, I'm thinking I have a pretty good chance at a sub 1:40 half marathon if I play my cards right.  If things really go my way, its possible I PR the half marathon as my best stand alone half was 1:36 two years back.

My weight is really good.  I've been hovering around 195.  My swimming is solid and I am looking for a 25:xx swim.  I really need to make sure I focus during the swim and not get too relaxed.  I did that in Racine two years ago and I think I swam close to 30min...yuck!!

Its tough to say how fast I'll bike as conditions dictate so much.  Ideally I'll be in the 2:20-2:25 range.  I've never been on the course, so we'll see how challenging it really is.  I've heard the first 20-25 miles are flat, and the last 20 miles has a lot of rolling hills.  I'll have to be careful pacing up the hills as hammering can really suck the energy out of your legs.

Overall my hamstring is doing good.  No real issues to speak of.  I am having some trouble with my toe again...I think I need to have my orthotics adjusted or just not wear work shoes as much.

Other than that, I am looking forward to tapering as I've been a bit tired lately.  I really need to get to be earlier the next couple weeks so I can go into the race ready to go.

As far as qualifying for Vegas...a month ago I would have said it was a long-shot without a rolldown.  Now I am not so sure.  If I really race well...and I do mean REALLY well, I might sneak under 4:30.  I suspect that would be enough to get a non rolldown which case I would promptly go to the medical tent and then get drunk.  In that order.

Until next time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hello again.

Alright, once again it has been a long time since my last post.  There are many reasons for this lapse, but it ultimately comes down to being very busy as we all are. 

So to catch back up.  Last time I posted I was with Northwestern Mutual, I have since left that job and am now with R.W. Baird as a Sr. Project Manager.  The move was a necessary one as I was just a contractor with NM, but its always somewhat sad to go.  NM was a good place to work overall, despite the challenges with the project I was on.

In any case, to get to the topic of this blog, training, triathlon, and all the goodies that come with it.

So as a reminder to all, last season sometime early in the year I tore my hamstring and glute medius.  It was primarily an overuse injury due to my bike saddle being so high.  I ignored it, and raced on it for a while.  It then got so bad I took time off.  It then went mis-diagnosed for a long time.  Finally I saw a chiropractor at the Froedtert spine center who ordered an MRI of my hip, and a real diagnosis was found.  From that point on I went to see Mark Lydecker at the Froedtert sports medecine center who had me doing all kinds of rehab stuff, and after 3 weeks I was able to lightly jog.

From a prognosis standpoint, I was told the injury would stick with me for about a year.  My chances of a 100% recovery were good, but the injury may always be with me to a certain extent.  Fast forward to now and I am training at full capacity with the exception of hard running.  And I define hard running as 5k or even 10k pace for any real length of time.  I can handle easier paces for just about as long as I'd like, but the real hard stuff still creates some trouble for the glute, hamstring, and the rest of the leg.

In any case, the season is upon me.  In early June I will travel down to Kansas for the Ironman Kansas 70.3 and see if I can qualify for the Vegas World Championships.  Given my situation with running, I consider an actual qualification something of a long-shot.  In order to do that I think I would really need to be in the mid 4:20's.  While I think my swim and bike legs are strong enough, the hamstring injury has hampered my running enough to make a 4:25ish unlikely.  A rolldown is certainly possible at this race, and considering the injury and how it will improve over the course of this season, I think I'd take a rolldown.  Next season I don't think I'll allow myself that luxury.  For this year, assuming good conditions, I am targeting a 4:3x.  The lower the better.

From a training perspective, everything is going really well.  I'm currently swimming about 4x per week.  Typically getting in about 3-4k per session.  I am about as fast as I've ever been as a triathlete.

I'm getting in about 4 rides per week.  I was really struggling on the bike for a while, but overall my power and pacing on the bike are just about as fast as my fastest last season.  Given the new bike fit and some recent results it is possible I am actually a bit faster.  The glute does give me a little bit of trouble if I really push the pace on the aero bars for an extended period of time.  But it has really improved lately.

And as far as running is concerned, I am running 6x per week.  I'm probably approaching about 35 miles of running per week, and getting much more consistent with that.  For me, right now, the important part is getting consistent again.  The consistency will build the durability I need to start running harder and doing intervals again.

My weight is dialed in at 196 right now.  So I am about as light as I have ever been...which is probably why my biking is a bit faster dispite similar power profiles.  Most of my previous race results are at a weight about 15lbs heavier.  Maybe even more than that.

So, I'm firing on about 6 of 7 cylinders and we'll see where that takes me.  I'm about 2 weeks away from beginning my taper...and certainly looking forward to that.

Beyond Kansas I've signed up for IM Racine 70.3.  I may do the Rev 3 race in the Dells, possibly Pigman, and possibly the world championships in Vegas if I manage to snag a spot.

I'll be sure to post a bit more now that I am able to do some real training and racing again.